The Manhattan Project

509th Composite Group

Robert Krauss's Interview

Alexandra Levy: I'm Alexandra Levy with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. We're here on September 13, 2018, in Chantilly, Virginia with Robert Krauss. My first question is to, please, say your name and to spell it.

Bob Krauss:   Robert Krauss. R-O-B-E-R-T K-R-A-U-S-S.

Levy: If you could tell us a little bit about your life and career, and your involvement in the 509th Composite Group.

Bob Krauss

Robert “Bob” Krauss is the Official Historian of the 509th Composite Group. He and his wife, Amelia Krauss, published The 509th Remembered, which profiles the service members of the 509th Composite Group and the events that surrounded the group and its role in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this interview, Krauss discusses how he became interested in collecting and preserving the history of the 509th and became the official historian for the 509th CG.

Norris Jernigan's Interview

Alexandra Levy: I’m Alexandra Levy with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. I’m here on September 13, 2018 in Chantilly, Virginia with Norris Jernigan. My first question is for you to please say your name and to spell it.

Norris Jernigan: Okay. I’m Norris Jernigan. That's N-O-R-R-I-S. Jernigan is J-E-R-N-I-G-A-N. You would be surprised how some people pronounce it. It's comical.

Levy: Please tell us your place and date of birth.

Norris Jernigan

Norris Jernigan served in the 509th Composite Group at Wendover, UT, and Tinian Island during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Jernigan describes being assigned to the Intelligence Office of the 393rd Bomb Squadron. As a clerk, he prepared information for briefing missions and typed subsequent reports. He recalls his surprise at being transferred to Wendover and learning that the 393rd had been selected to be part of a top-secret project.

Robert S. Norris's Interview (2018)

Robert S. Norris: Right. I’m Robert S. Norris, it’s N-o-r-r-i-s, is the last name. We’re here in Washington in Cindy’s office on February 28th, 2018, to talk about the French atomic program and weapons and so on.

Cindy Kelly: Great. First, I hope that maybe we could start with the whole Curie family’s series of discoveries about radioactivity, and the platform that the French atomic scientific research provided for this.

D.M. Ellett

D. M. Ellett is a mechanical engineer who joined the Manhattan Project after the end of World War II. He was a member of Z Division, which was assigned to Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1945.

Jon Hunner's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly in Los Cruces, New Mexico and it’s December 7, 2017. I have with me John Hunner. The first question for John is to say his name and spell it.

Jon Hunner: My name is Jon Hunner. J-O-N, H-U-N-N-E-R.

Kelly: Jon, just to get some station identification, why don’t you tell people who you are and what you've been doing professionally for the last thirty years.

Al Zelver's Interview

Patricia Simpson: I am Patricia Anne Simpson and I am recording this oral history for the Atomic Heritage Foundation on May 3, 2017, in Studio B of the Visual Communications Building at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Please say your name and spell it.

Al Zelver:  My name is Al Zelver. It’s spelled Z, as in zebra, E-L-V, Victoria, E-R.

Simpson: Please tell us your date and place of birth.

Zelver: My date was July 2, 1920, and I was born in Stockton, California.

Nancy K. Nelson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. I am in Riverside, California. It is Tuesday, February 21, 2017. I have with me Nancy Nelson. I’d like her to say her name and spell it.

Nancy Nelson: My name is Nancy Nelson, N-A-N-C-Y N-E-L-S-O-N.

Kelly: Tell me a little bit about yourself, so we can put this in context.

Nancy K. Nelson

Nancy K. Nelson is the widow of Richard H. Nelson, who was the VHF radio operator when on the Enola Gay on the Hiroshima atomic bombing mission. In this interview, Nelson discusses how she met her husband after the war. She describes his experience training to be radar operator and in the 509th Composite Group. She recalls how he and other members of the missions felt about the atomic bombings.

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